Two people trying to flee a restaurant in Redondo Beach without paying their bill hit a manager with their car – and everything was caught on camera.
The incident happened Monday afternoon at the Ragin Cajun Cafe on the Pacific Coast Highway.
Lisa Hodges, who owns the restaurant with her husband Steve, said the couple sat at an outdoor table and racked up $ 90 worth of food before asking for take-out containers and their bill.
But the duo – described as a male and female in their early to mid-20s – left the table without paying, and were already in their car and starting to walk away the moment the manager noticed them.
The manager, who has not been identified, jumped over a barrier of hay bales and stood in front of the car while asking the couple to pay their bill. Hodges said he was not touching the car or being confrontational.
“They could have gone back. They could have moved around him, but they didn’t, ”she said. “They chose to press the gas and hit him – and they hit him hard.”
Security camera footage shows a red sedan speeding up and hitting the manager. Hodges said the man was carried about 30 feet over the hood of the car and only fell when the driver made a sharp turn as he maneuvered onto the Pacific Coast Highway.
The manager “was very shaken up,” Hodges said. He had bruises around his knees and his ankle and wrist were very sore, but “luckily he didn’t hit his head.”
He rested at home for a few days before returning to work on Wednesday.
Hodges said “dine and rush” is sadly common, including cases of people using fraudulent credit cards.
But Monday’s violent incident came following a particularly difficult time for the restaurant industry, which has seen some customers switch less or be made worse by COVID-19 guidelines, she said. The manager remained among the key employees of the small family restaurant “during all the madness”.
“This is just one of the many things you face in the restaurant industry,” Hodges said. But she was grateful for the influx of phone calls and the support from the community.
“You just have to keep moving forward. You just have to stay positive, ”she said.
Anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact the Redondo Beach Police Department at (310) 379-2477.